8 Tips to Raise a Healthy Child: Ages 4-10
It can be challenging to raise healthy and happy children, but if you empower yourself with knowledge and proven strategies, you’re setting them up for success. Parenting is an important job for the future of our communities.
Many of the providers here at Cima Health have children of our own. We all want to raise healthy and happy children. We’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the ages 4-10. And if you have any questions about how chiropractic pediatric care can help your child, please reach out to Dr. Natalie, as she specializes in caring for children, as well as expectant and new moms.
1. Encourage Healthy Eating
One of the biggest things you can do to help your children grow up strong and healthy is to encourage health eating. It helps if you can be a role model. Offer lots of fruits and vegetables at an early age so that your child learns to think of them as some of their favorite foods. Limit sugary drinks and opt for whole milk dairy products and plenty of water. A positive relationship with food starts at an early age. By helping your child eat healthy meals and snacks, you can help prevent conditions like childhood obesity, and you boost their immunity.
2. Keep Them Active
Ideally, you’re doing physical activities as a family. Plan walks on the beach, hikes in Frenchman’s Forest, games of tag, catch, football, etc. These active times are also good times to have conversations with your child. At school, they’ll have physical education. Find youth sports teams they can choose from for more activity and making new friends. And don’t forget to sign them up for active summer camps!
3. Limit Screen Time
By planning physical activity, you’re automatically limiting screen time. You can also do activities as a family after dinner – board games, crafts, swimming, etc. Set firm limits on screen time, including TV, iPads, laptops, and phones. Some devices let you set daily time limits right on the device. Another option is to keep electronics with you overnight rather than let your child keep them in their room. Model good behavior and limit your own screen time when you’re with your children.
4. Sleep Matters
Kids grow fast. Those growing bodies need more time to recharge than adults. Aim for 10-11 hours of sleep for your child between the ages of 4-10. Your 4-year-old may need 12 hours of sleep to feel refreshed and not cranky in the morning. Set a firm bedtime and bedtime routine, and stick with it. If your child has to be out the door for school at 7:30am, they need to be in bed by 8:30pm. That leaves an hour for getting dressed, eating breakfast, and telling you about the form you have to sign.
5. Teach Good Hygiene
Most kids already know how to properly wash their hands, but don’t always do it. Make sure they wash their hands after going to the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, or before helping you get dinner ready. A daily bath or shower before bedtime can be part of the nightly routine. In addition, promote proper oral hygiene by getting them a toothbrush and toothpaste they like.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Teach your children how to practice mindfulness and meditation at an early age. This will give them the skills they need to handle stressful situations, build self-esteem, and increase their focus. If you practice as a family, you will benefit as well. For more on how to do this, visit Mindful.org.
7. Talk to Your Kids
Talk with your kids every day, multiple times a day, where you’re not just telling them what to do and when to do it. This will increase their vocabulary and help them become better communicators. You want to establish early on that they can talk to you about anything. Help them process their emotions by asking open-ended questions such as “How did that make you feel?” and “Why do you think he/she did that?” and “What do you think we should do about that?”
These conversations can be in the car on the drive home from school or back and forth to practice, as well as at the dinner table or activity table.
8. Take Physical Complaints Seriously
In addition to making sure your child gets yearly checkups, take physical complaints seriously. If they’re tired all the time, seem to get every bug that’s going around, or complaining of earaches or stomachaches, you need to get to the root of the problem so you can help your child feel better.
Make an Appointment
If you’re ready to investigate pediatric chiropractic care and take a holistic approach to your child’s health, we can help. At Cima Health, we develop an integrative plan of care that helps your child grow up healthy and happy.
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